The Untold Splendors of Old Pampanga

In the late afternoons, a group of affluent Filipiniana collectors and connoisseurs, as well as authorities, scholars, and researchers, gathers at the eminent Filipiniana scholar Ramon “Boy” Villegas’ “Katutubo” Arts & Crafts at the LaO’ Center in Makati to catch up on the latest in the uppermost echelons of the Manila art and antique world.  The conversations are invariably interesting, as the friends discuss the latest important finds on the market and express their interest in the rarest objects, generously peppered with, of course, the latest unsavory but interesting doings of Manila society.

Usually, the conversations steer to the highly-desirable heirlooms of the “de buena familia” old families.  And more than the Negrense, Cebuano, Batangueno, Laguna Tagalog, Ilocano, and even Manila families, the Pampango families and their storied holdings are the ones most often discussed.

I have always suggested to my good friend Ramon “Boy” Villegas that the Metropolitan Museum of Manila should mount an exhibition — one that will certainly be a blockbuster — themed and titled “The Splendors of Old Pampanga.”  I also suggested the idea to another good friend, Corazon “Cora” Alvina, formerly the head of the Metropolitan Museum and presently the head of the National Museum, and while she thought it was a wonderful idea, she bowed and shook her head sadly when she realized the enormous insurance costs that such a magnificent exhibition would entail…



  1. Abbie C. said,

    September 23, 2008 at 1:46 am


    I happened upon your blog in my search for old Filipiniana photos, artifacts, articles and what-have-you’s. Lately, I’ve been intrigued by this quintessential piece of our history and was wondering where would be the best place to start learning about them…Given that I know where I should start. There are so many and I wouldn’t want to just dive in. Perhaps you could point me to the right direction? My many thanks in advanced. ♥

  2. May 22, 2007 at 10:38 am


    Thank you for finding your way here. 🙂

    Toto Gonzalez

  3. cj said,

    May 20, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Nice blog, I had been reading your blog and Ivan. Quite interesting and educational at the same time. It reminded me of growing up in Silay. Thanks

  4. March 30, 2007 at 7:16 am


    “Ali Baba’s den of Pampanga goodies” is Ivan Henares’ term for the “Museo De La Salle” in Dasmarinas, Cavite since it has some of Old Pampanga’s most beautiful things… *lolsz!*

    Toto Gonzalez

  5. Adrian Lizares said,

    March 30, 2007 at 12:12 am

    But despite the cost of insurance, you should still try to convince the Museum people to mount the show Toto, it would be astounding.

    I remember my father who grew up in Pampanga would always chuckle to his fellow Negrenses “you haven’t seen anything YET” (referring to what he saw and experienced growing up in Mexico and San Fernando).

    I am sure the show would be IMMENSE to say the least!


    *Who is Ali Baba?

  6. March 25, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Yes, there are a few there…

    But surprisingly enough, the majority are still in our beloved province. But they are not documented!!! 😦

    Toto Gonzalez

  7. March 24, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Toto, you’ll have to start with Ali Baba’s den of Pampanga goodies. Haha! I wonder if those goodies will ever find their way back to Pampanga, hopefully in a Pampanga museum.

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